MODERN WISDOM NUMBER 186 APRIL 2014

MODERN WISDOM: AMERICA’S ONLY HUMOR MAGAZINE
NUMBER 186
APRIL 2014
Copyright 2014 Francis DiMenno
http://dimenno.gather.com
dimenno@gmail.com
http://www.dimenno.wordpress.com

EDITORIAL:
WHY WHAT I WRITE IS GREAT LITERATURE AND THE STUFF OTHER CHUMPS HACK OUT IS MERE TRASH

It’s simple, really. My literary productions are enduring, evanescent, complex. Whereas the fodder the other jerks churn out with disgusting alacrity is straightforward pap which walks on its itty-bitty tippy-toes lest it prove baffling to and unduly confuse the typical 12-year-old. My immortal work has to be shuffled, perused, studied, pondered, digested. The prolefeed those other duffers regurgitate is merely read once then discarded like the rubbish it truly is. (I beg of you: shred it, don’t burn it, for the thick greasy smoke it gives off ruins the atmosphere.) The products of my pen are stirring, cathartic, life-altering. The trashbin-ready muck the other guys scribble is ultimately mind-numbing–good for soothing crying babies but little more. My work constitutes a peak experience. Theirs is quotidian, mundane, crass, chaff, fluff, pap, poo, so-so.

I tell you this in simple honesty: my finely-crafted masterpieces are classic and deep. Theirs are superficial pulp potboilers with clammy delusions of middlebrow adequacy. I tell you with a depth of sincerity that only the truly great writers can muster that I am the master of the telling detail, the nuanced inflection, the subtle touch. Whereas they specialize in superficial observations that any third-string copyboy could belch up at will. I pilot an art yacht. They steer a tugboat commodity. (Note the masterful use of metaphor.)

Listen: my world-shaking prose demands the fullest use of all your mental faculties–plus a few you never “knew” you had. Theirs merely demands the mildly avid intellect of a scrappy chimp wearing an absurd beanie. I am difficult. They are easy. I am rare. They are commonplace. My plots (if you can characterize such masterly storytelling verve with such a colorless and grossly under-descriptive technical term) arise naturally from organic situations. Their sausage-casing-thin contrivances merely soil waste-paper. My art transcends its skillfully hidden mechanics; in their crap you can see the creaky narrative machinery even as it visibly rusts its way to a well-deserved oblivion. My prose lives; theirs is lifeless. I reach peaks of transcendence. They plumb the depths of pretentiousness. I speak to the awake. They mollify the tired. I open the mind. They close it. I utilize internalized specialist knowledge to evoke my thoroughly convincing in-depth descriptions. They toss boring reams of generalized knowledge at the luckless reader in a meretricious stab at sham omnipotence. My every technique practically shouts genesis. They merely replicate. I create divinely immortal gems as part of an enduring process. They excrete hogwash. I divert. They distract. I ask difficult questions. They supply easy answers.

Still not convinced? Let’s get down to business. I am fully and tragically human. They are laughing, prelapsarian animals. Every word from my pen is fully thought-out and then re-thought. Whereas every trite drop of tripey detritus they trot out is lacking in all art or use of any of the higher faculties. I am one for the history books. They are yesterday’s papers. I am a swan. They are the ugly duckling.

In fine: I matter. They do not. My use of consequential rhetoric moves statesmen first, to tears–then, to action. Their meaningless cliches don’t even fool ward-heelers. I am a star: like the sun, I am one of a kind and my light is all-pervasive. They are subsidiary bodies: like the moon, they are a cold satellite which merely reflects the true light. (Again: note the groovy metaphor.)

To conclude: I sing. They stammer. I am generative. They are derivative. I originate. They clone. Me: good. Them: bad. Like I said before, my stuff is ambiguous. For instance, you can’t tell if I’m kidding or not, right?  Well, I’m not kidding. Not really. Just sorta. (Note well my utterly masterful use of colloquial speech!)

AND NOW…MODERN WISDOM PRESENTS:
1. THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF KNOCKOFFS
2. PROFESSOR RISIBLE
3. CAN THAT ROT
4. THE SERMON ON THE PLAIN
5. POEMS BY CLARK KENT
6. THE CHRISTMAS SLAVE SHIP
7. THE PARROT’S WIFE
8. GOODBYE DAY
9. A CHANCE OF SORROWS
10. THE ANGRY NORTH
11. MYSTERY SMITH
12. VENI, VIDI, WIKI
13. LOONEY PLANET GUIDE TO THE USA
14. A HUNDRED BOOKS I DIDN’T WRITE
15. MANNA FOR CYNICS
16. FUN TIME FUN
17. GOD HELP THE TROUBADOUR
18. APE-X
19. MAYBE I NEED A REPLACEMENT
20. WE ALL FALL DOWN

21.
OBSERVATIONS
1. There’s no fascism like Zen fascism.
2. Your Mama’s so snobbish she wrote PRIDE AND MORE PRIDE.
3. I’m so macho I only eat steel-cut oats.
4. Everything ever written could be interpreted as an annotated suicide note.
5. Before you condemn anybody, look deep into your own heart. And
then condemn them.
6. When the world begs you to pull its finger–don’t do it.
7. The Pope once said that drug addiction is grounds for divorce. I say
that marriage is grounds for drug addiction.
8. Every popular song carries the exact same subliminal message: “Look at me.”
9. I’m not sure, but I think it was Ayn Rand’s feet that we saw under the
house at the beginning of The Wizard of Oz.
10. I am disappointed by God. His early stuff was hardcore, with all the floods and maimings and stuff. That’s because Warner/Reprise treated Him right. Gave Him room to stretch. But Clive Davis just dumped so much moolah on Him that He just couldn’t say no. Then He went all softy on us. I’d say it was just after He signed with Arista. (But listen: The same thing happened with Clapton.)

22.
I’M AN HONEST WORKING MAN–HAND OVER THE MONEY

Hi! How are you? Listen listen listen: why am I begging you to give me your spare change? Well, let me tell you something–I still got my pride. AND, ORDINARILY, I WOULDN’T BOTHER ASKING YOU FOR YOUR STINKING NICKELS AND DIMES! But you see, I’m kind of unemployed at the moment. Fact is, I just got laid off from my stinking job.

No–actually, I think YOUR attitude sucks! Hey! Listen–I’ll have you know that I have got a PROFESSIONAL degree, so when I ask you if you got any spare change, it’s not “begging”–it’s “market research.”

How did I lose my job? Long story short? OK–so maybe I wasn’t the best worker. But is it my fault? Doctors say it isn’t healthy to stare at a computer all day long. So I like to take a 10 minute work break–every ten minutes or so.

The reason I can’t find another job? I honestly don’t know. I just sent out a resume. Everyone’s out of work these days and sending out resumes, so to stand out you’ve got to have a gimmick. So I wrote my resume on a nest of fire ants. Well, wouldn’t you know it–the personnel director sprinkled boric acid on the doorsills. That’s OK. I didn’t really want to work there anyway. I ask you–what kind of maniac would sprinkle eyewash in the vestibule?

All this stress and anxiety is enough to make me go right off the deep end. Get this: I was hurrying to get to a job interview, but I ended up not going because I had to stop the car in the middle of the turnpike because I heard voices telling me to kill. Come to find out, it was just the Howard Stern show. But do you think the judge would listen? NO!

Maybe it was all for the best. I really don’t interview very well. I admit it. When they ask me if I’ve had any experience, I say to them “Nothing I’ve done in my life is worth any money to you.”

I got a lot of time to kill, so lately I’ve been reading books about the Kennedy assassination, and hey, listen to this: there was something VEERY FISHY about that grassy knoll. Also, I’m beginning to suspect that Oswald was just a patsy.

Now, don’t get me wrong–I’m not a conspiracy theorist. I prefer to be called an “anthropological systems analyst.”

Say–can you lend me a fiver? You know I’ll pay you back. I need to go buy some cough medicine. No, don’t go and buy it for me–it’s a special kind. You don’t believe me? Listen:

HAK KAK KAK GUK HAK HAK HAK

Don’t mind me–I’m not choking, I just turn blue in the face for fun. HEY–COME BACK!

I AM A SUPREME INTELLECT! AND YOU ARE A MERE INSECT! AN INSECT! BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ! HA HA HA!

Ahem. Hi! Hi! How are you? Listen listen listen: why am I begging you to give me your spare change? Well, let me tell you something–I still got my pride. AND, ORDINARILY….

23.
HOW I TRY TO HELP TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT BY PRACTICING COMPASSIONATE CONSERVATISM

A funny thing happened to me on the way over here. I just flew in from Australia…and I scorched an Aborigine with my jet pack. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

No, but seriously. On the way over here, I saw a homeless person teaching his dog to beg. How do you like that? He was teaching his DOG to beg! It’s a franchise!

Anyway, I guess it’s time to talk about how I am a true compassionate conservative. How do I exemplify this creed? Let me count the ways:

Every now and then I like to give my dog a treat…so I throw a boullion cube in the toilet bowl.

I never talk down to children. Only adults are mature enough to be condescended to.

I shot and killed the last Dodo. But that’s OK, because I gave the meat to the poor.

I am against the cloning of humans. I think we should clone money.

I’m a member of the Free Speech coalition…but I’d rather not talk about it.

I would never bite the hand that feeds me. The meat is firmer and juicier further up the arm.

I don’t have messianic delusions. At least, that’s what Mr. Jesus tells me.

I saw a beggar on the street, and, for his own good, I kicked him. But, I was wearing slippers.

I think we should end racism. And let the class warfare begin.

I hope you have found these examples instructive. You will note that compassionate conservatism does not involve actually giving any money away. Because you see, my friends, giving away money is not the true meaning of compassionate conservatism. Conservatives do not believe that money is everything. They just believe it will have to do until something better comes along.

24.
150 CELEBRITIES 150!
I confess that I used to gasp in awe at the utter cupidity of the mass media, always booming the exploits of flash-in-the-pans and Johnny-come-latelys and chronicling the doings of tired has-beens like Liz and Liza (with a Z)  and promoting with a lackey’s perfervid avidity the daring deeds of folks like Robin Williams and Jack Nicholson and slavishly hanging upon the thoughts and words of bright dimbulbs like Oprah and Rosie. But now I get it. The human mind can only remember about 150 people. And if you manage to claw your way into the charmed circle of the current top 40 or 50, you’ve got it made. The struggle is in staying there long enough to establish a pattern of behavior that a significant number of people will identify with and remember. (“I vant to be alone;” “Come with me to zee casbah;” “Play it again, Sam.”) Because within that 150 there are basically three divisions, just surely as “Gallia est in tres partes divisa:” 1) The Immortal Stereotypes From the 30s and 40s Who Broke the Mold: Chaplin, Groucho, the Duke; 2) The Future Immortals From the 50s and 60s Who Picked It Up and Ran With It: Sid Caesar, Steve Allen, Clint Eastwood; 3) The Present-Day Immortals From the 70s and 80s Who May or May Not Be Remembered: Richard Pryor, David Letterman, Arnold Schwartzeneggar. Category one has a half-life of about 30 or 40 years; category two has a shelf-life of maybe 10 to 20 years, and together these two categories constitute about 100 recognizable names. This leaves about 40 or 50 slots for present-day celebs to jockey for. No wonder the rascals are always promoting themselves so shamelessly and aggressively via inane talk shows! No wonder the media promulgates their deeds so vigorously! It’s a closed system, just like we learned about in 10th grade biology: The media sea generates a fog of notoriety and that sea replenishes itself by means of the ensuing rain (and reign) of celebrities who jockey ceaselessly for face time. Or perhaps a more familiar model will serve to illustrate my point: The broadcast media is the market, the celebrity is the name brand, and familiar novelties which consist of mere reconfigurations of meat and potatoes keeps the customers happy and thus ensure that the franchise remains profitable. Maybe someday somebody will tell the stars their day is done but as long as marginal types continue to stupefy themselves and respectable types are too scared to squawk we’re unlikely to see it–at least, in our lifetimes.

25.
MY OSCAR ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
This is the very first time that I, personally, have won this prestigious award which is now even more prestigious because I have been honored as a recipient of it–and vice versa. First, I’d like to say that this moment is so much bigger than me. But not that much bigger. This moment is for me as a helpless baby, me as a mischievous toddler, me as a rambunctious boy, me as a sullen teenager, me as a mature adult, and me today as I stand here, in the moment of my supreme triumph. It’s also for all the people who stand behind me. My brilliant, well-compensated lawyer who helped me beat the rap on that bogus paternity suit. My talented, charismatic agent, who steered me away from stinkeroos like “Ford Fairlane” and “Waterworld” and helped me land the big-ticket roles which have made me the egregiously successful and well-known artist that I am today. My manager, who has been like a mother, father, big sister, little brother and Dutch Uncle to me. And most of all, this moment is about that insecure young adult who told me I had the guts and moxie and grit to make it to the top–namely, me. Bogie, Bacall, Olivier, Fellini, Hitchcock, Keaton and Michael J. Fox–I salute you. You have inspired me, as I am sure I would have inspired you, had you been lucky enough to have known and loved me. Now wait a minute–I know my speech is running long, but I’ve waited 45 years for this moment, so the least you could do is wait another 45 seconds for me! If you network vultures cut one microsecond out of this speech, I’ll murderize you! OK, OK, I’ll wind it down. I’d also like to thank God, the Pope, and most of all, my masseuse, Salvatore “The Rifleman” Bottiglia. Thank you. Jesus Saves, God is Great, Allah Akbar.

26.
THE META METAMORPHOSIS
1
One day a loathesome insect woke up in a crawlspace behind an
old-fashioned gas range located on the fourth floor of a slum
apartment and found himself transformed into a neurasthenic
Czechoslovakian Jew named Gregor Samsa.
2
Where do I want to go with with this? thought Gregor, whom some might
have mistaken for the narrator of this tale, though they would be
badly mistaken.
3
Certainly the single mother and her twelve-year old son who played
inadvertant host to the naked, German-speaking, and very confused
Gregor wanted no part of him.
4
It was the dead of winter, however, and he was stark naked, and the
mother did not have the heart to turn out the young and not unhandsome
stranger.
5
Consequently, she borrowed some gaudy cast-off clothing from the pimp
who lived downstairs.
6
This was a man for whom she sometimes turned freelance tricks when the
welfare check was late and the Johns were streaming into his domicile
too quickly for him to accomodate with his regular stable of foul,
albeit foxy, whores.
7
You would surely like to know what happened next, but Gregor, which is
not to say I myself, was having to make this up as he–or I–went
along.
8
In that way this story is very much like a memory that never occurred.
9
Let us assume that a man with the intelligence of a cockroach–because
he was, in fact, once a cockroach (or perhaps “dung beetle” is a more
appropriate approximation) was compelled at first to speak with a
strange gurgling sound.
10
Let us also assume, at least for the sake of story interest, that
Gregor eventually grew able to make sounds that vaguely, at least,
resembled human ones.
11
And now we introduce another character. The welfare worker.
12
She came around from time to time to check on the family, mother and son.
13
And on this occasion–conveniently, for the sake of our story–mere
hours after Gregor first revealed himself–she wanted to know what the
stange man was doing there anyway.
14
The mother was hard-pressed to give a satisfactory answer.
15.
The police were called and Gregor was taken to the local precinct
station. The kindly patrolman offered him coffee and a doughnut. The
taste of coffee was loathesome to him, though he eagerly devoured the
doughnut, for it was slightly stale.
16.
Because he was able to give no satisfactory account of himself, Gregor
was eventually confined in the county jail.
17.
Another character is now introduced–a psychiatrist.
18.
After three hours of questioning, the doctor of mind medicine was
unable to coax any identifying information from the prisoner, and so
about two weeks after Gregor Samsa first made his appearance, he was
confined to an institution for the mentally insane.
19.
There he was dosed with chlorpromazine hydrochloride and subjected to
electroshock. Thereafter, he languished for fifty years and,
eventually, died.
20.
It is not the grandson of the twelve year old boy of whom earlier we
spoke who is writing this story. Nor the mother. Certainly not the
pimp, or any of his whores, all of whom were barely literate at best.
21.
As for the psychiatrist–he drew up a few case notes regarding the
curious case of the amnesiac who was discovered in the cold-water
tenement dwelling of a incorrigible floozie.
22.
Upon his death, alas, those notes were destroyed.
23.
Therefore, by rights, this story should never have been written.
24.
This “Gregor Samsa” of whom we speak exists merely as a sort of
spectacle, fit only to be pointed at. Surely nobody with any sense
could find very much that is noteworthy about the tale of an admirable
beetle transformed into a useless man.
25.
More properly, this “Gregor Samsa” –is he not merely a memory that
never occurred? Yes. Therefore, let us conclude, then, with a quote by
the immortal Bard most appropriate to this circumstance.
26
“O God, O God, how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all
the uses of this world!”

27.
MINUTES OF MEETING BETWEEN MINION NUMBER ONE AND KLEON, SUPREME MASTER OF INFINITE SPACE AND TIME RE: VILLAIN SUPPLY ORDER

Minion number 1: Master, thanks to your minion Buzz Dixon, we have been alerted to a online vendor doing business as Villain Supply, LLC.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: Haw haw haw! (cough!) Ex-cellent! Now I need never leave my sinister mountaintop fortress where I summon my lazy gorilla slaves with my electric bullwhip to obey my every evil whim! And…soon…the feeble governments of this puny globe…will be desTROYed–AND THE PLANET WILL BE MINE!!! A ha ha ha ho ho ho hee hee a huck hak kak hak….

Minion number 1: I thought perhaps you would like to place an order….

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: Fine, fine–but mind you, (Snort) the kickback commission you will be getting must go into MY coffers. YOUR reward will be….You will be allowed to live one day longer.

Minion number 1: Yes, master.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: Let’s see… (wheeze) I want one Swiss Bank, one multi-level marketing scheme, one robotic Ayn Rand–no, better make that two–one Hitler clone, one freeze ray, one Henchman Zombification Device, 12 grams of anti-matter, one mobile missile launcher, one planet-buster, one sun-eater, and one God-killer.

Minion number 1: It says here they’re out of stock on the God-killer.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: Fine, place the order anyway,  (koff!) but just wait until I get the planet-buster and the sun-eater–then they’ll be singing a different tune!

Minion number 1: Actually, according to this, Lord Satan just bought the God-killer.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: Well, then, that’s alright–we’re going golfing at Burning Tree next Thursday, so I’ll just make him an offer…an offer he can’t refuse!!! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Minion number 1: Heh heh. Er, Master, the total bill is, um, $6,217,277,275.11.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: A prime number! An EXCELLENT omen indeed!

Minion number 1: Plus $115,067 shipping and handling.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: WHAT!? The puny fools!!? Do they DARE insult me thus? Tell them (sniff)…tell them that for an order of that magnitude THEY can pay the shipping.

Minion number 1: Fine. No problem. They want to know how you’ll be paying.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: Do they  (chuckle) take Euros?

Minion number 1: No, sorry, Master, just dollars, precious gems, stolen radioactive isotopes, Krugerrands…and Master Card.

Kleon, Supreme Master of Infinite Space and Time: Just put it on the card,  and mind you, get a receipt–I intend to deduct these items as a business expense! After that deal I pulled off in Florida the IRS would never dream of another audit! Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

28.
THE STALIN WIT
Gratitude is a sickness suffered by dogs. (BA-DOOMP!)

If any foreign minister begins to defend to the death a “peace conference,” you can be sure his government has already placed its orders for new battleships and airplanes. (DING!)

In the Soviet army it takes more courage to retreat than advance. (KA CHING!)

It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything. (DING!)

The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.(KA CHING!)

The Pope? How many divisions has he got?
(BA DA BOOM!)

Death solves all problems – no man, no problem. (BA-DOOMP!)

Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union.
(RIOTOUS, NERVOUS APPLAUSE)

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